Monday, September 26, 2016

Efficacious, Effervescent, Empowered, Energized

I used to believe that teachers taught mostly from a place of natural gifting and developed skill.  I now believe that even more.  I just understand now that we have not done the best job of teaching teachers to understand themselves, know their strengths and struggles as people and as instructors, and to navigate what they learn in their journey of self-understanding.   So it is true that our natural bent towards being engaging, charismatic and believable in front of students helps us out--but it's not true that only certain people have this.  But do we realize that for each of us that thing comes from a different place?  

The dictionary defines "efficacy" this way: 


noun  ef·fi·ca·cy \ˈe-fi-kə-sē\

Simple Definition of efficacy

  • : the power to produce a desired result or effect
(Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary)
As I watch a transformation this year of a formerly struggling teacher into one with much more results already in the classroom due to coaching, support and modeling, I understand that much of what we often define as poor teachers are really just teachers struggling in their confidence.  What if we re-framed that entire conversation to focus on where a teacher struggled to believe he or she could, rather than looking first to what they produce? I am convinced we could shift the course of students' experiences in this nation, particularly where the destructive path of poverty has worn the way before us.  I'm excited about this living experiment I'm watching: what happens when a teacher's confidence begins to rise? What are the effects on classroom culture, student motivation, measurable learning, teacher stamina and retention?  Ultimately, how is the entire school community affected by that teacher's shift?  Stay tuned as I continue to explore this study...
Interesting reads:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Bit About Me

So, now that I've committed to blogging regularly, it will be very helpful, methinks, if I begin by sharing who I am and what I'm about.  I am a teacher of 16 years in the urban public school setting, with summertime employment in private school settings, as well. Serving students from grades K-college and beyond has given me a breadth of experience...but my favorites are elementary students and adult learners!  I have always loved and specialized more in literacy, and have also taught all subjects.  I am National Board Certified in early and middle childhood literacy, and am trained in Literacy Collaborative and Reading Recovery.  I am a teacher consultant with my local affiliate of the National Writing Project, and have lots of inventive plans for contributing to the teacher blog world through this blog and my Teachers Pay Teachers store

I believe I have a unique contribution in the teacher blog world. I am at once a teacher and literacy specialist, a student of leadership and team-building, and a singer and songwriter. All of these elements come together in my creative world. My biggest passions are literacy, teacher wellness, teacher leadership and retention, the use of music to enhance learning, and urban education. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Let's go!